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Michigan Potato Seed Producer Grows Spuds of a Different Color

Blackberry potatoes grown by Iott Seed Farms. Photo: Iott Seed Farms Facebook
Blackberry potatoes grown by Iott Seed Farms. Photo: Iott Seed Farms Facebook

If you’re looking to satisfy your craving for a salty snack food, purple potato chips boast a lot of Michigan pride.

“There’s a lot of potatoes with all kinds of different colors, but this one’s unique because it’s deep, dark purple on the inside as well as the outside,” said Dennis Iott of Iott Seed Farms in Kalkaska County. “We’ve seen purple potatoes with white flesh before. These look like beets when you cut them.”

This is Iott’s second year these blackberry potatoes. The potato was engineered at Michigan State University, and it led to Iott growing the purple potato.

“We know the guy who owns Great Lakes Potato Chips in Traverse City, and he was interested,” he said. “We’re seed growers, and we started growing the seed, and it’s a small volume. So far we’ve grown them here and he makes chips out of them right from our farm.”

When the first batch hit shelves last October, the chips were a huge hit.

“That was a very limited run—it’s a very limited amount of seeds available,” said Iott. “It was a very small volume. They were available once until they sold out and then a second time until they sold out.”

Iott grows 22 million pounds of seed potatoes and 90,000 pounds of blackberry potatoes. He takes a lot of pride producing these spuds.

“We grow seed potatoes for chip growers, so this is the first time anybody’s associated us with actually making the chips which has been kind of fun for our family,” he said.

These chips might make it a little difficult to hide your snacking.

“When you eat regular potato chips, you don’t see it,” said Iott. “When you eat purple potato chips, if you’ve got purple crumbs on your fingers, down the font of your shirt, it’s like eating Cheetos—you’ve got colors that give you away you’ve been doing that.”

The purple potato chips should start being processed before the end of the month to join Great Lakes Potato Chip Co.’s other 8 flavors on store shelves.